The Optimists

An image of a circle, the inner rings show an image of an audience from behind, the image is black, orange and white.

China Plate’s unique training opportunity for emerging theatre makers and producers.

“The knowledge, guidance, and resources (given) over the complete course are simply amazing. I have grown as an artist, producer, and all-round theatre-maker, and learned a plethora of transferable skills along the way.” – Optimists Alumni

Are you an emerging producer or theatre-maker hoping to develop your professional producing skills in the subsidised theatre sector?

The Optimists offers an introduction to the craft of producing theatre in a professional context and building professional networks by de-mystifying the financial, administrative and organisational aspects of producing. Drawing on China Plate’s extensive experience and real examples, the Optimists provides knowledge and insight on the practicalities of making, funding, touring and promoting your work.

“The Optimists is invaluable for anyone wanting to navigate the arts industry. I have learned more than I could imagine possible and met so many inspiring (and very useful!) contacts.” – Optimist Alumni.

The Optimists course is led by China Plate, with the support of guest industry experts and speakers.

Our Spring 2022 course is now closed, and we are not accepting further applications. If you are interested in our next course, keep an eye out for further information on our website, newsletter, and social media channels.

For more information, please email

ACE Lottery Funded logo, reads 'Supported using public funding by Arts Council England'

The Optimists Spring 2022 Online Course

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Applications are now CLOSED for The Optimists online course

Dates: 7th February – 30th March 2022

The Spring 2022 Optimists is being delivered online. The course is suitable for emerging producers, administrators, artists, creative practitioners, etc who are hoping to develop their skills as a professional producer, or as a producer of their own work, in the subsidised arts sector.

The Optimists is comprised of ten x3 hour online sessions, taking place over x 8 weeks for 20 participants*.

The course cost is £360 (inclusive of VAT).

Bursaries covering the cost of the course will be available to those who have faced racism, discrimination and/or cultural barriers due to their ethnicity, disability, D/deafness, gender identity or socio-economic background.

Topics will include:

  • New ideas and how to articulate them
  • Expenditure
  • Income
  • Fundraising: including Arts Council England, trusts and foundations and other sources
  • Administration: budgets, contracts, company setup & general management
  • Working inclusively and Access
  • Audiences and how to reach them
  • Venues: getting through door

*x7 of the 20 places have been reserved for the Shoot Festival Assistant Producers.

Image: The 2018 Optimists cohort